VASANZIO, Giovanni
(b. ca. 1550, Utrecht, d. 1621, Roma)

Biography

Dutch architect, originally Jan van Santen, active in Italy. During his early years in Rome, he was a cabinetmaker and a sculptor of fountains. Later he was named architect of the papal palaces, continuing many of the works begun by his teacher, Flamingo Onion.

Vasanzio's work as an independent architect is difficult to document. The façade of the Villa Borghese on the Pincio (as shown in old views), covered in Mannerist fashion with niches, recesses, Classical statuary and reliefs, in contrast, for example, with the restraint of Baldassare Peruzzi's Villa Farnesina (1505–11), and the window-frames on the inner façade of S Crisogono, which must have been one of his last designs, show Vasanzio to have been a pupil of Flaminio Ponzio, whose forms he took over, inlaid like marquetry and decorated with stucco ornamentation, to produce an effect similar to applied wood-carving.